Ethiopian athletics great Haile Gebrselassie was one of the celebrities who attended the FIFA World Cup draw in December 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. Haile took the stage in Cape Town with other big names like England soccer star David Beckham and South African actress Charlize Theron.
Seeing Haile on stage in Cape Town reminded me of one of my great sporting thrills. In 2001, the Voice of America sent me to Edmonton, Canada, to cover the IAAF World Championships in Athletics. As luck would have it, a special 800-meter “media race” was held in Edmonton, and I decided to test my speed.
While I didn’t set any records, I did get a chance to meet Haile Gebrselassie, who attended the race as a special VIP. I guess you might say it’s the only time I’ve been able to catch up with speedy Haile, the world record holder in the marathon.